Archive for the 'internet' Category

Weather APIs

October 8th, 2012

Which weather? Here’s a comparison.

http://www.hamweather.com/products/aeris-api/
750 requests/day
3 requests/second
15-day forecast
15+ endpoints
Aeris Web – JavaScript/PHP
Standard support

http://www.wunderground.com/weather/api/d/pricing.html
Calls 500/day 10/min
10-day forecast summary
Hourly 1-day forecast
Satellite thumbnail
Dynamic Radar image
Severe alerts
Tides and Currents
Tides and Currents Raw

Weather.com
$19.99/mo
TruPointTM Current Weather Conditions
3-Day Data Forecast
3,000 Monthly Data Requests
English Language

http://www.worldweatheronline.com/free-weather-feed.aspx
Upto 5 day weather
Current conditions
Weather by date
City and Town
UK Postcode
US Zipcode
Latitude/Longitude (decimal)
Airport (IATA code)
IP Address
XML/JSON/CSV weather
99.9% uptime
Advert free
Email/Forum support
Commercial/Non-commercial Use
500 request per hour

Boondocking Computer

November 7th, 2011

My beast held up long enough for me to finally decide on a new laptop computer.  I have to admit, I could have picked one out sooner, but I was holding out for AMD to put a Llano A6 processor into a 11-13′ LCD laptop. It didn’t happen within the allotted time, so I ordered an ASUS Eee PC 1215B-PU17-BK. After much research, I believe it delivers the best ROI out of the laptops I compared.

1215B Pros:
8hrs+ battery life
40w power supply
Uses 6-11 Watt hours when idle (my current laptop is closer to 43w)
Uses 16-19 watt hours under load. (current one is closer to 70w)
Priced as low as $300

1215B Cons:
ASUS!
no spill proof keyboard
glossy screen

Johnny’s laptop, an ASUS EEE1005pe is a boondockers dream, but I cannot quite deal with a 10″ screen. If you can, you will be rewarded with up 14hrs (no joke!) of battery life with a 1hr recharge time at 40watts. It’s about as energy efficient as you can get. It’s perfect if you don’t do many CPU intensive tasks.

Anyway. My new laptop should be here this week. For some reason my $14.00 worth of “Amazon Standard Shipping” AKA SmartPost (bleh) is getting it from Kentucky to Colorado in nine days. Not exactly what I thought I was paying for, but it is what it is.

Once it gets here I get to experiment with operating systems. FreeBSD is what I prefer but there are still a lot of hoops to jump through to get it “mostly working” on a Eee PC. It appears that Linux has all the correct drivers, but I haven’t really used Linux since Slackware 7 and prefer FreeBSD. Hopefully, all will go well!

Tinfoil hat (for EVDO)

July 28th, 2010

The things you’ll do when you’re sitting around the house…

The other day I built a parabolic reflector out of cardboard and some foil tape I had lying about. I was researching various homemade antenna designs I want to tinker with and stumbled on one that I actually had all the parts for on hand. As we are so close to the edge of EVDO reception here that moving down the hill a few feet would kill the signal, it seemed like it would be worth a shot. After all, it cost maybe fifty cents for the foil tape I used and the cardboard was free.

Parabolic EVDO Antenna.

Now, this is hardly a good mobile solution as it’s fairly directional, but after spending twenty minutes or so on the roof pointing the reflector and testing bandwidth, I got pretty good results. The SNR increase doesn’t even register on the cradlepoint’s web interface, which is fairly lackluster, so I had to result to ping flooding our upstream router to detect a better signal. No, I didn’t DoS it, I kept the packet count to 100 at a time while aligning and 1000 packets for bandwidth testing.

I didn’t record all the numbers, but to give you an idea of the improvement: without the reflector, we were seeing 10-30% packet loss and average roundtrip times that ranged from 5 seconds to 9.5 seconds. Even at that, the connection was usable. Once the reflector was aligned, packet loss dropped to 0-1% and average roundtrip times stayed about 2.5 seconds. This equates to a 100-300% increase in bandwidth plus the bandwidth recovered from dropped packets.

The connection is hardly blazing fast, but it’s quite a bit more usable than previously. For our normal usage patterns, it’s actually quite acceptable. Bear in mind that our average roundtrip times are similar to 380ms. The previously stated times are for icmp packets being sent out as fast as possible and saturating the connection.

With that sort of improvement, I’m much more determined to build a waveguide antenna for times when we’re having trouble hitting a tower. Bonus points if I can fit both the wifi and 3g spectrums into the same antenna and use it for a wifi repeater as well.

Cobwebs Begone!

December 20th, 2009

Its not outwardly obvious, but I spent my only day off upgrading this weblog. It was a big jump in versions, and I had to upgrade a lot of plugins as well. So far, so good but there could be lots of issues that haven’t cropped up yet. Please let me know if you experience any problems or annoyances.

Update

January 4th, 2009

Well, we have been sitting in the same place so long I think I have a root or two starting. We need start moving before that root makes contact with the soil. The two main reasons  we have been here so long are my new web page and the fabulous hospitality of my Aunt and Uncle. And, well a little lack of motivation on my part compounded with being sick.

Being with family has been great. It was nice to be able to spend the holidays with loved ones. What is Christmas w/o excited little children ripping open presents? My relatives provided that and much more. Roasted lamb, spiced eggnog, rum cake, holiday cheer, and much more. We have had some nice times while we have been here and really appreciate their concern and hospitality. We will miss them for sure. But, now its time to ramble.

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